Matt Yurdana: Her Boyfriend’s Frogs

It’s been six months now, long enough
for her to question what she’s done.

She’s somewhere between calling it off
and convincing herself it still might work
if she can understand it, if what she finds
is worth understanding,

and she catches herself wondering
if there’s a single event: a sour romance
or a childhood cruelty, or maybe
something as straightforward
as that boyhood summer vacation
he’s talked about, how one night

he stole a steak knife from the cabin’s kitchen
and taped it to one end of a yard stick,
a makeshift spear that glinted with moonlight
while he hunted the pond’s edge after dinner.

She can see him stepping forward,
raising it above his head,
and the silence the frogs made
was as clear as the milky scrim of stars
burned into the water’s surface,

so complete that even the stalks
of cattails refused to chafe themselves,

and maybe it was this, she thinks,
this amazement at silencing an entire pond,
each croak and ratchet uniting
in a great obedient stillness that was so
attractive, hour after hour,

as he crept and crouched, just him
and his spear, dictating the pace and rhythm
of the night, long after other boys
would’ve grown weary and bored.



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